Nathalie Dufour, The Founder Of ANDAM Is
Fashion's Fairy Godmother
What do Martin Margiela, Christopher Lemaire, Jeremy Scott and Anthony Vaccarello, all highly influential designers have in common? All are winners of France’s ANDAM Prize, dedicated to keeping the Parisian fashion scene vital and dynamic by identifying and subsidising the most promising talent in the fashion industry.
The prestigious accolade was founded 28 years ago by Nathalie Dufour who received the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur from Pierre Bergé for her work in July 2016. “Incredulous” was how Dufour described she felt, when while interning at the French Ministry of Culture in Paris back in 1989, she realised that there was nothing which celebrated fashion and yet there were prizes for photography and art. “Fashion was only to be found in museums, and yet it was this living creative industry, not to be confined to behind a wooden cabinet. “
So she did what any bright, motivated person who had studied at a number of acclaimed Parisian “Grandes Écoles” and who had long nurtured an affinity with fashion (she was making her own clothing at the age of 14), might have done. She plucked up the courage to approach the minister of Culture, Jack Lang and Pierre Bergé, then president of DEFI, a committee focused on the development and promotion of French clothing.
"Fashion was only to be found in museums, and yet it was this living creative industry, not to be confined to behind a wooden cabinet."
Both men were behind her from the start, encouraging her to develop the non-profit initiative. Today that prize money is €250,000 and allows the winner to present at Paris Fashion Week as well as receive mentoring from industry giants such as Bruno Pavlovsky, the President of Fashion at Chanel and Francesca Bellettini, Chief Executive at Yves Saint Laurent.
“From the start, we had strong winners,” explains Dufour. “The first winner was Martin Margiela.” She points out that these days having talent is not enough. “A designer also has to be a manager and be able to take their creative vision and translate it into an accessible product that can develop on an international level.”
Currently Dufour’s main concern for the next generation of designers is how quickly they are being gobbled by the big luxury corporations. She now sees ANDAM as an avenue for talented designers to remain independent. For the winner not only does it give them a profile, access to infrastructure but their collections are also going to be snapped up by major international retailers.
"Everyone is doing the same thing with all the same brands and it’s so important to have a unique look, and to take care of the savoir-faire around the world."
“I think it’s incredible what Anna is doing at The Garnered - providing a platform for young talent and putting fashion and craft on the same platform. Everyone is doing the same thing with all the same brands and it’s so important to have a unique look, and to take care of the savoir-faire around the world. It’s also important to know how your clients want to consume because they don’t want to consume the same thing. Every experience needs to be personal.”